30th April 2020

Birkbeck Common scrub proposals

The applicant has replied to our objection to the 20y proposed fence period claiming it would be costly to have to apply again in ten years and that Lowther as landowners have expressed an interest in managing and removing the fence at the end of the agreement. We have replied to say that as another agri environment agreement will have to be done anyway, and as the principles will have been established, completing another s38 consent will not be costly or onerous and will also allow a review of progress to be made. We need a firmer commitment re fence removal and have asked for that via the Internal Agreement of the CS scheme and also that the Planning Inspectorate condition it.

Kendal

The Kendal River Corridor Commons Group have met again to discuss more details of possible deregistrations and exchange land re the commons in Kendal. SLDC are going to prepare a s16 application (deregistration and exchange) to resolve their issues at New Road perhaps early summer. Given the lack of local elections in May this has given the political stability and confidence to undertake a public consultation, as SLDC had previously promised, regarding New Road. We anticipate that they will omit any reference to car parking as an option. There is still have work to do in respect of the design and financing of the proposed exchange land at Beezon, Aynam Road and Natland Road. SLDC look as if they will revisit the byelaws in respect of New Road.  This relook will probably include considering how they can allow cyclists to use parts of the land.

EA are going to prepare a s38 application for all their flood works re New Road and Gooseholme Commons, possibly late May and early June and allow us to have an early sighting of the application. The EA are still expecting UU to gift land in N Kendal which will now be registered as common land following our suggestion. It now appears that the land will be vested in SLDC and not the EA but with Cumbria Wildlife Trust managing the land. Given that this land and Beezon fields are the main areas for wildlife enhancement and tree planting by the EA as compensation for the trees felled and other works they propose to undertake, the question of landscape character comes into play. A visualisation and planting plans, along with details of ponds etc, is expected from them. Their Stock Beck pumping station is still planned to go underground, this is the common land the OSS have asked to be added to the register and for which the Scheme applies but which is currently not common. However they will try and keep all above surface structures off the common.

Crosby Ravensworth

We have been consulted on a significant woodland planting proposal as part of a Countryside Stewardship scheme for Crosby Ravensworth common. This would see 20% of the common planted with wood pasture or scrub so would result in significant landscape change. Part of the proposed areas to be planted are between the two m6 carriageways. A site visit was held in March and we raised a number of issues. Some of the areas of planting were fine. Others we felt did not respect the landscape character enough, eg parts of Gaythorne Plain and east of the M6 and we have asked for them to be reviewed. We held a subsequent telecom – NE are not happy with the M6 reductions even though more has been added to the west. There are also issues around a number of very intrusive conifer blocks – they are outwith the scheme but FC would require them to be replanted on the same footprint which would replace incongruous conifer blocks with incongruous broadleaved blocks. We are awaiting further feedback from FC on this issue.

Armboth fells

Fix the Fells have consulted us on issues of path erosion on the top of the Armboth fells and Thirlmere commons. Although not a PROW there is a well used path that follows the old redundant metal fence along the top of the ridge. It goes through very wet and boggy ground which is now very eroded. This is giving issues of loss of carbon and sediment run off. The usual footpath fixes are not possible here due to conditions or inappropriateness so the proposal is to use slate flags. This would need a s38 common land consent. This is a balance between introducing a hard path and man made features into this relatively wild landscape v preventing further environmental harm. We are  meeting in march to discuss further.

Common cause project

The Common Cause project application for stage 2 was submitted in Oct last year and it was confirmed in March that they had received their funding which is fantastic news.